February 11, 2012
FCC Document Reveals Google Home Entertainment Device
A document filed with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) shows that Google is developing some sort of home entertainment device, and various media reports published Friday suggest that the apparatus will wirelessly stream music throughout a person's home.
Lucas Shaw at TheWrap, citing reports from the Wall Street Journal, wrote on Friday that the device would "stream music throughout the home“¦ and the FCC filing says users would connect the device to home WiFi networks and use Bluetooth to sync with other home electronics devices."
"The device, which exists as a prototype and will eventually be sold as a branded item to consumers, is the company´s most significant venture into hardware," added David Streitfeld and Nicole Perlroth of the New York Times. "While the initial purpose of the device will be for streaming music, the eventual use could be much wider."
The FCC document requests permission for testing of the prototype outside of the laboratory environment, including "functional testing of all subsystems, including WiFi and Bluetooth radio."
The document, which had been obtained by CNET's Charles Cooper, says that the device will allow users to connect to home wireless networks and use Bluetooth technology in order to connect to other home electronic equipment.
"This line of testing will reveal real world engineering issues and reliability of networks," Google said in their filing with the FCC. "The device utilizes a standard WiFi/Bluetooth module, and the planned testing is not directed at evaluating the radio frequency characteristics of the module (which are known), but rather at the throughput and stability of the home WiFi networks that will support the device, as well as the basic functionality of the device."
Jessica Guynn of the Los Angeles Times says that the company plans to test the devices in 252 employee homes in its hometown of Mountain View, California, as well as in New York, Los Angeles, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. ArsTechnica's Casey Johnston reports that 102 prototypes will be tested.
Guynn, citing the Wall Street Journal report, says that the device has been in the works for years and is expected to be released sometime this year. Shaw adds that, while the new hardware might initially focus on music, it could eventually begin offering other services, including video rentals such as those currently offered through Google's Android marketplace.
Google representatives declined the New York Times' and the Los Angeles' Times request for comment, and did not immediately respond to similar requests by The Wrap and ArsTechnica on Friday afternoon.
“Google´s future depends on extending its influence beyond the PC screen,” Forrester analyst James McQuivey told Streitfeld and Perlroth. “They´ve made tremendous progress in the mobile phone business, but their attempts to do the same thing with the TV and tablet flopped because the hardware manufacturers they relied on were not able to move fast enough.”
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